"When the levy was defeated, it was somewhat of a surprise to me. We really got caught by a comprehensive and perfect storm," Parsons said.
West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple said she's concerned about the county's progress because without the levy, the district will be burdened with extra maintenance costs, like snow removal and lawn upkeep.
"I am extremely concerned about the financial situation with the loss of the excess levy. There are obligations in that levy that you still have to provide for. You're looking at cutting back on a deficit of $2.2 million, and that's substantial," she said. "You're going to see cuts to basic services, and it becomes very difficult to provide what you need to provide without that excess levy while actually addressing the deficit that's in front of you."
The OEPA audit commends Preston County Schools for its administration working together to address the issues, and Parsons is confident in the direction the district is headed.
"Three years ago, this county was in really bad shape. It's taken us years to get to a point where we have quality people in our central office. Now, we have one of the best curriculum officials in the state," he said. "Overall, we are pleased with where we are and would like to go further."
Recommendations were made for the county to re-evaluate its current level of staffing and other expenditures to continue to lessen the deficit.
The state board members are: Wade Linger, Gayle Manchin, Bob Dunlevy, Priscilla Haden, Jenny Phillips, Bill White, Mike Green, Lloyd Jackson and Lowell Johnson.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.